Introduction: Vitamin D deficiency is common among hemodialysis (HD) patients and is an important component in the pathogenesis of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT). We herein report our experience on the impact of cholecalciferol supplementation on PTH levels in a group of HD patients.
Patients and methods: We selected 122 HD patients. The main selection criteria were 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels ≤30 ng/mL and SHPT defined as PTH levels >300 pg/mL or PTH levels between 150-300 pg/mL during therapy with cinacalcet or paricalcitol. 82 patients agreed to receive cholecalciferol at the fixed dose of 25,000 IU per week orally for 12 months, while the remaining 40 represented the control group. The main endopoints of the study were the reduction in PTH levels ≥30% compared to baseline values and the increase of 25(OH)D levels to values >30 ng/mL.
Results: At follow-up PTH levels decreased in the supplemented group from 476 ±293 to 296 ± 207 pg/mL (p<0.001), 25(OH)D levels increased from 10.3 ± 5.7 to 33.5 ± 11.2 ng/mL (p<0.001), serum calcium increased from 8.6 ± 0.5 to 8.8 ± 0.6 mg/dL (p<0.05) while serum phosphorus did not change. In this group the mean doses of paricalcitol were significantly reduced, from 8.7 ± 4.0 to 6.1 ± 3.9 µg/week (p<0.001). Moreover, in this group there were a significant increase of hemoglobin levels, from 11.6 ± 1.3 to 12.2 ± 1.1 g/dL (p <0.01) and a significant reduction of erythropoietin doses (p<0.05). In the control group the 25(OH)D and PTH levels did not change, while cinacalcet doses increased from 21 ±14 to 43 ± 17 mg/d (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Vitamin deficiency is very common in HD patients. Cholecalciferol treatment significantly increased serum 25(OH)D levels, significantly decreased PTH levels and paricalcitol doses, concurrently entailing a better control of anemia.
Keywords: vitamin D, cholecalciferol, hemodialysis, secondary hyperparathyroidism, paricalcitol